13.1 Biological Classification - Kingdoms and Domains Modern species are divided into three large groups, or domains. Bacteria Archaea Eukarya

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1 Chapter 13 Prospecting for Biological Gold Biodiversity and Classification 13.1 Biological Classification- How Many Species Exist? Biodiversity is the variety within and among living species Number of species known to science is between 1.4 and 1.8 million Uncertainty due to differences in methods of storing and describing specimens Total number of species estimates range from million Average estimate is ~10 million species on Earth 13.1 Biological Classification - Kingdoms and Domains Modern species are divided into three large groups, or domains. Bacteria Archaea Eukarya Within Eukarya, four kingdoms are also recognized Plantae Animalia Fungi Protista 13.1 Biological Classification - A Closer Look: Kingdoms and Domains Recently, some scientists have begun to suggest that organisms should be classified based on evolutionary relationships. Major groups under this system correspond to divergences early in life s history. Determining evolutionary relationships requires comparing DNA. DNA of closely related organisms should be more similar than DNA of distantly related organisms. Using rrna to determine relationships among distantly related organisms 13.2 The Diversity of Life - Bacteria and Archaea Life on earth arose at least 3.6 million years ago, according to the fossil record Most ancient fossilized cells are very similar to modern bacteria and archaea Prokaryotic bacteria and archaea don t have a nucleus, and also lack mitochondria and chloroplasts Most are unicellular Incredibly numerous and diverse. Found on every square centimeter of the earth s surface, even inside deep sea vents, far underground, and in clouds. Domain Bacteria Most bacteria are probably harmless to humans. We are most familiar with the ones that cause disease

2 Many known bacteria obtain nutrients by decomposing dead organisms Competition between bacteria has produced compounds that humans make use of. Antibiotics ~50% of antibiotics are derived from bacterial sources Restriction enzymes proteins that chop DNA at specific sequences; useful in biotechnology Domain Archaea Superficially similar to bacteria Differ in structure of cell membranes Archaeans typically found in extreme environments (high temperature, high pressure, high salt concentration) Taq polymerase comes from an archaean, Thermophilus aquaticus Archaeans are likely to be source of other interesting biomolecules 13.2 The Diversity of Life - Protista Evolution of the Eukaryotes Protists are the simplest of the eukaryotes Oldest eukaryotic fossils are ~2 billion years old, 1.5 billion years later than the first prokaryotic cells Endosymbiotic theory explains the evolution of eukaryotes and their specialized structures Modern protists contain members that resemble animals, plants, and fungi Most members of the kingdom are not known No agreement among scientists on number of groups below kingdom Number of proposed groups ranges from 8 to 80 Bioprospectors have examined the plant-like protists most closely for useful compounds Natural selection has driven the evolution of defensive compounds in these organisms Extracts from red algae might be used in anti-viral medication Carageenan, stabilizer and thickener, also comes from protists 13.2 The Diversity of Life - Animalia Animals comprise a wide range of organisms, but all share a common set of characteristics Multicellular Heterotrophic (must eat to get energy) Mobile during at least one stage of life By 530 million years ago, all modern animal groups were present Most appeared quickly in fossil record Multicellular organisms quickly proliferated Known as Cambrian explosion Most bioprospecting work focuses on invertebrates Vertebrates only account for ~4% of animals

3 Invertebrates are far more numerous and diverse Many invertebrates produce compounds found nowhere else in nature 13.2 The Diversity of Life - Fungi Fungi characteristics Immobile Heterotrophic Feed by means of hyphae DNA analysis indicates fungi is more closely related to animals than to plants The hyphae of fungi can extend over a very large area Fungi are grouped on the basis of spore formation Fungi produce a number of important drugs Antibiotics Cyclosporin Statins 13.2 The Diversity of Life - Plantae Characteristics of Plantae Multicellular Eukaryotic Autotrophic (manufacture own food) via photosynthesis Plants have been present on land for ~400 million years First plants were low to ground, lacked vascular tissue Evolution of vascular tissue for water and nutrient transport Allowed growth to tree size Allowed growth in drier areas Most modern plants in group only ~140 million years old Flowering plants Over 90% of modern plants are flowering plants and many specializations Rapid increase of flower plant species is called adaptive radiation Flowering plants employ double fertilization method or reproduction Also often involve animals in reproductive process (pollination) Also synthesize many secondary compounds that deter predators Double fertilization Kingdom Plantae is the source of many drugs and compounds Source of most naturally derived drugs

4 Aspirin Digitalis Morphine Caffeine Pharmaceutical manufacturers reproduce hundreds of compounds first found in plants 13.2 The Diversity of Life - Viruses A virus consists of a strand of DNA or RNA Viruses hijack transcription machinery of cells to reproduce Once hijacked cell cannot perform own functions HIV, smallpox, polio, influenza are all caused by viruses 13.3 Learning About Species - Fishing For Useful Species The National Cancer Institute has employed a brute-force approach to looking for anti-cancer compounds Receive specimens from around the world, extract materials and screen against cancer cell lines One major compound, Taxol, has been identified using this technique 13.3 Learning About Species - Understanding Ecology Understanding an organism s ecology how it lives in its environment can be helpful in evaluating potentially beneficial compounds Survival in extreme environments High levels of competition with bacteria and fungi Susceptibility to predation Ability to live on or in other organisms Survival in high population densities 13.3 Learning About Species - Reconstructing Evolutionary History A classification system reflecting evolutionary relationships is more useful to scientists An organism s chemical traits will probably be similar to those of its closest relative If looking for new compounds, could begin by screening close relatives of organisms already known to produce compounds The challenge in making an evolutionary classification is that organisms do not always resemble their closest living relatives New World vultures are more closely related to storks than they are to Old World vultures

5 13.3 Learning About Species - Developing Evolutionary Classifications Reconstructing evolutionary history not always as easy as the sparrow example Can be confounded by loss of traits, and convergence DNA provides a means of testing evolutionary hypotheses 13.3 Learning About Species - Testing Evolutionary Classifications Scientists can test evolutionary hypotheses with data from fossils and from living organisms Fossils provide information about the genealogy of different living groups Comparison of DNA from living organisms can also validate or refute proposed classifications DNA supports vulture classification, but does not support sparrow classification DNA can give clues to near relatives, but lab process can take time 13.3 Learning About Species - Learning From the Shamans Often local people in biologically diverse areas make extensive use of naturally occurring products. Shamans often have much knowledge of locally useful compounds. Biopiracy is when local knowledge is used without benefiting local people. UN Convention on Biodiversity is supposed to address this. Our biodiversity represents an enormous potential, but only if we recognize its value.

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